§ 3 p.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask her Majesty's Government which institutions of the European Economic Community will 567 need to approve the draft 1984 Budget which will include provision for the compensation to be paid to the United Kingdom.
The Minister of State, Privy Council Office, and Minister for the Arts (The Earl of Gowrie)
My Lords, the European Parliament and the Council, which are the two arms of the budgetary authority, will both need to approve the 1984 Budget before it is adopted by the President of the European Parliament.
My Lords, have not leading members of the European Parliament, including the President, Mr. Dankert and indeed the leader of the Conservative M.Ps, Sir Henry Plumb, expressed doubts about the possibility of the European Parliament approving the Budget unless solutions are found to the major problems of Community finance? That being so, was not the Prime Minister at least premature, if not excessively propagandist, in claiming after the Stuttgart Conference that she had gained there some modest triumph?
The Earl of Gowrie
My Lords, I do not think that that is the case at all. I am quite confident that the European Parliament wants to see a lasting solution to the problems of budgetary imbalances, as of course does the United Kingdom. On the longer-term budget negotiations, the Council has agreed that it would reach conclusions in December on future financing, and we shall, as always, negotiate with it in a constructive spirit.